Minutes of the FSAI Artisan Forum Meeting - 28th October 2010

 28th October 2010 - FSAI Board Room at 11:00


  • Wayne Anderson, FSAI (WA), Chair
  • Darina Allen, Ballymaloe Cookery School, (DA)
  • Raymond O’Rourke, Taste Council, (RO’R)
  • Dave Lang, ACBI (DL)
  • Graham Hall, Irish Beekeepers Association (GH)
  • Caroline Robinson, Farmers’ Market Stallholder (CR)
  • Isobel Fletcher, LEADER (IF)
  • Jeffa Gill, Durrus Cheese, (JG)
  • Mary Burns, Ardrahan Cheese (and CAIS), (MB)
  • John Brennan, Leitrim Organic Centre (JB)
  • Declan Ryan, Arbutus Breads, (DR)
  • Paul Fletcher, Premier Game (PF)
  • Donal Lehane, Lehane Food (DL)


  • Myrtle Allen, Ballymaloe House, (MA)
  • Sally Barnes, (SB)
  • Anthony Cresswell, Ummera Smokery (AC)
  • Frank Hederman, Belvelly Smoking (FH)
  • Jim Buckley, Cork Co. Co. (JB)
  • Michael Woulfe, Beekeeper ([MW]
  • Esther Barron, Barron’s Bakery (EB)
  • Lisa O’Connor, FSAI (LO’C)
  • Eibhlin O’Leary, FSAI (EO’L)

In Attendance

  • Eileen Lippert, FSAI (EL)
  • John Matthews, FSAI (JM)
  • Dorothy Guina Dornan, FSAI (DGD)
  • Tim Camon, FSAI (TC)
  • Paddy Ward, Teagasc (PWD)

1. Agree Minutes of Meeting of 23 April 2010

Agreed: The minutes were agreed without amendment.

2. Matters Arising

Noted: All the actions were followed up. DGD elaborated on the recent meeting with Eurotoques about its proposal for a ‘Safetynet’ Council and its request for clarification on a list of FAQs submitted to FSAI and the outcome of that meeting was that FSAI will look into some of the issues raised and revert. Meanwhile, WA and DGD will liaise on this issue and look at the option of preparing a FAQ fact sheet.

Action: DA commented on the jargon and terminology used in the FSAI’s guide to food law for artisan/small food producers starting a new business. It was explained that FSAI is obliged to present all the facts in a fair way. CR suggested that volunteers from the Artisan Forum translate the document into layman’s terms and ask the FSAI to check it over to ensure accuracy. This was agreed by all the members and the FSAI. Caroline Robinson will progress this electronically.

Action: Concerns were expressed about the departure of Sara McSweeny from Teagasc. Who is the contact point now for cheesemakers who have a query? PW agreed to take this issue up with his colleagues in Teagasc and revert to FSAI by email.

Action: TC to resend to RO’R information about enterprise support.

Action: DA spoke to IF about grant aid and these two will liaise and revert to the members.

Noted: The members were told how to complete their expense forms and samples were provided for demonstration purposes.

3. Agree Draft Agenda

Noted: The draft agenda was agreed subject to additions to AOB.

4. Update on Black Pudding – John Matthews, FSAI

Noted: JM informed the members that this matter is under discussion with local authority vets and a fact sheet is being prepared. The members advised JM that some of the vets are totally against the production of black pudding with fresh blood. The issue of the safe collection of fresh blood and the FSAI invited anyone who had a good method of doing so, to please contact the FSAI.

Action: EL to send details of vampire knife suppliers to DA.

Noted: The issue of some EHOs insisting that black and white pudding be displayed with cooked meat products was raised. DGD will raise this with EHOs and clarify that, as these puddings are traditionally cooked prior to consumption and are usually treated by the consumer as a raw product, they should be displayed with raw products.

5. Update on Artisan Support and Training – Paddy Ward, Teagasc

Noted: Teagasc has arranged a training course on starting up a small butcher/meat business to take place on 17 and 18 November. He explained the background of this course and what the course entails. There seems to be a lot of interest in this course as this one is over subscribed. It was suggested that more of these courses be provided, perhaps at varying locations/regions. This would depend on uptake, trainer availability and suitable premises being available and licensing issues. Some possible solutions to these issues were proposed.

Action: EL to contact Carol Griffin to find out when the next butcher’s course will take place and revert to the members.

Noted: Nora Daly will be doing a ‘start up your own business – direct selling’ in December. Full details will be sent to EL who will email them to members.

Noted: Eddie O’Neill runs cheese-making courses in Moorepark. Contact him for information on these.

Noted: There are often farm option events and these will be advertised on the Teagasc website.

Noted: Concerns were expressed about the difficulties encountered when attempting to set up a business in a rural area. Many of the issues described were outside the remit of the FSAI but it was suggested that artisans lobby their local representative or the relevant minister. Also budding entrepreneurs were advised not to progress too quickly unless you were certain that you had all your ‘ducks in a row’. This could ultimately save a lot of time, money and effort.

Noted: Members were reminded that the Teagasc and Enterprise Ireland initiative of the €5000 enterprise vouchers is still ongoing. Various options of how sole traders could apply for these were explained.

Action: EL to circulate details of these enterprise vouchers to the members. 

Action: It was suggested by member that it might be useful for artisans to prepare a leaflet or short document on what can be done, rather than what cannot be done. Include relevant contact names and numbers, etc. RO’R will raise this at a Taste Council meeting with a view to progressing it.

6. Salmonella in Duck Eggs

Noted: WA gave a presentation on this subject. The main topics he covered included:

  • The number of cases of Salmonella Thyphimurium DT8 by HSE area and month of onset in Ireland 2009-April 2010;
  • Flow diagram of how the outbreak unfolded;
  • Summary of the distribution of the eggs;
  • A breakdown of the molecular microbiology of the positive samples;
  • Interventions taken to protect public health;
  • The number of cases of Salmonella Thyphimurium DT8 by HSE area and month of onset 2009 to September 2010;
  • Details of the upsurge of DT8 in UK;
  • Where is the salmonella coming from;
  • Cases by exposure route;
  • Additional interventions to protect public health;
  • Acknowledgements to other relevant authorities involved in the outbreak.

Noted: Discussions about this issue took place and it was confirmed that UK is taking similar action to that in Ireland. It is hoped that in the future that duck eggs can be quality assured, but there is no guarantee that this will be possible. The advice not to use raw duck eggs was reiterated. Artisans were encouraged to advise any of their colleagues that reared ducks to get their ducks tested.
Action: JM will enquire about the best actions to take regarding getting tests done and will revert to the members.

7. Facilitating Small Poultry Producer wrt Regulations – John Matthews, FSAI

Noted: JM spoke about how a guidance document on this issue is being drafted and under discussion. A meeting recently took place with local authority vets and their comments will be incorporated into the document which will then be sent to the relevant stakeholders for consultation. Member requested input into the document sooner rather than later and they would especially like the issue of seasonal slaughter to be properly addressed.

Action: Members to pass on to EL any contact details for people they would like to be consulted, regarding the above document.

8. HACCP Work Book for Farmhouse Cheesemakers – Tim Camon

Noted: TC informed the members that this work book is at the printing stage and it’s hoped it can be available very soon. He explained the aim/objective of the work book and confirmed it would be available on-line and free of charge. Depending on how it’s received, it may be adapted for use in other sectors such as yogurt makers and ice- cream makers.

9. AOB

Liquid Raw Milk

Noted: It was confirmed that there is no legislative ban on the sale of liquid raw milk at this time. However, legislation is under discussion/being drafted by the Department of Health and Children. FSAI considers that raw milk represents an unacceptable risk to public health. The member strongly expressed their opposition to this view. The members queried if it would be possible for good hygiene practices to be drawn up on the topic. FSAI explained that this would be an exercise for DAFF as the FSAI remit does not extend onto the farm.

Cryptosporidium in Water

Noted: DA explained why this was on the agenda and FSAI distributed leaflets on the matter to all present. Members were advised that a food business operator is legally responsible for the safety of their food and it is their obligation to ensure that even water from the mains is safe. Members express dissatisfaction that LAs can get away with supplying unsafe water.

Action: An issue surrounding the issue of the temperature of hot water for hand washing was raised. DL will liaise with DGD on this issue.

Wild Game

Noted: The issue of hunter’s declaration was raised and TC spoke about this and clarified several of the issues raised. A course in hunting game is in the process of being prepared and it is hoped it will be certified by City & Guilds and also approved by DAFF. A draft syllabus is now available.

Noted: There was a query about the fact that artisans making 100% meat sausages are not allowed to add sodium sulphite to their products. DGD explained that sulphur dioxide and sulphites can only be added to burger meat with a minimum vegetable and/or cereal content of 4%. Sulphur dioxide and sulphites can be added to breakfast sausages up to a maximum level of 450 mg/kg expressed as Sulphur Dioxide. Breakfast sausages have been defined for the addition of colours and phosphates but not specifically for sulphur dioxide and sulphites.
Action: IF gave a very quick rundown on some of the initiatives that LEADER is running but she agreed to send all the information via an email to EL who will circulate it to the members.

10. Confirm Dates for Meetings in 2011

Noted: The 2011 meetings will take place in March and October on dates to be agreed electronically with the members.

Last reviewed: 20/5/2011

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